The Nurse Consultant's Handbook by Belinda Puetz and Linda J. Shinn; 1997; New York: Springer; $39.99
The Nurse Consultant's Handbook is a packed informational resource for nurse consultants and would-be consultants. The authors write in a very candid manner and have a warm friendly style. Nine chapters move readers through the intricacies and nuances of nurse consultation.
The authors succinctly discuss the history of consulting and the myriad roles of consultants (e.g., coach, motivator, mentor, teacher, facilitator, confidant, counselor, sounding board, change agent, expert, observer, fact finder). The authors take these roles and overlay the nursing process, defining each step as it fits into the nursing consultation process. The traits of consultants according to Puetz and Shinn are listening, observation, objectivity, patience, persistence, self-confidence, humility, and integrity. If you possess these traits and have the additional skills of relating to people, networking, linking and visioning, marketing yourself and your product, and are ethical in your approach to delivering a product, then consulting may be for you.
The steps involved in starting a business as well as the marketing strategies needed will assist novice consultants as well as empower experienced consultants to assess their businesses. One of the challenges discussed is the responsibility one has to be ethical (Chapter 8) in delivering on a promise and "pledging competency in undertaking an assignment. " The American Nurses Association Code of Ethics and the Code from the Institute of Management Consultants are provided and discussed.
It is hoped that when these authors revise or develop another text they will include specific case presentations, as well as the nuances of handling "certain clients and agencies," and their judgment regarding when it is necessary to bring in other experts.
This premier text is worthwhile reading, and as Tim Porter O'Grady mentions in the foreword, "Belinda Puetz and Linda Shinn offer their colleagues a rich resource for developing the role of the consultant in any setting."